PROTON ON TRACK IN RALLY NEW CALEDONIA
PROTON concluded a challenging round 2 in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) with a series of misfortunes denying the team of a strong podium finish.
Alister McRae in Rally New Caledonia 2012
Despite starting Rally New Caledonia strongly, PROTON was not only forced to concede the lead going into the second day but also suffered one early retirement.
Defending APRC champion Alister McRae retired in the second special stage but continued on the final day under Super Rally format, winning three of the day’s six special stages to secure seven valuable championship points.
McRae finished day 3 ahead of Skoda’s Gaurav Gill and Chris Atkinson but was not eligible for a podium finish. Atkinson won the rally ahead of team mate Gill with Brian Greene in third.
Meanwhile, having led the rally on the opening day and setting fastest times in three of the four special stages, PROTON team mate PG Andersson was also forced to relinquish his lead on the second day of rallying.
Andersson’s Satria Neo S2000 experienced an abrupt loss of power as a result of a water crossing, a predicament that would later cost him to lose more than 14 minutes and dropping the Swedish driver to fourth in the APRC category.
With a large deficit to make up, Andersson however, was denied the chance of a roaring comeback on the third and final day by a second mechanical failure.
Rally New Caledonia was contested over a competitive distance of 252.82km covering 19 special stages.
“We had hoped for a repeat of last year’s double podium results in New Caledonia but the reality of rallying is such that all the hard work and preparation is never a guarantee of a strong finish,” said Datuk Abdul Razak Dawood, the Head of PROTON Motorsports.
“Having said this we take back some consolation in the fact that the Satria Neo S2000 is at its most competitive form in the hands of both McRae and Andersson having set a blistering pace at the head of the competition.”
Meanwhile, PROTON’s Director of Group Marketing, Branding and Motorsport John D. Chacko said the Satria Neo S2000’s performance in New Caledonia earned the team renewed admiration and respect.
“The fighting spirit of the two drivers clearly outweighed the misfortunes we endured in New Caledonia and this only goes towards strengthening our resolve as we focus on the remaining rounds in the championship. This without a doubt, shows PROTON’s continued perseverance and commitment to be better.”
PROTON, established in 1983, is Malaysia’s largest manufacturer of automobiles, and the only full-fledged OEM car manufacturer in South-East Asia. With operations in key markets from UK to the Middle East, and across South-East Asia and Australasia, especially in countries like China and Iran, PROTON produces cars to suit a range of consumer demands and preferences.
Its offerings include versatile and reliable four-door family vehicles, two-door hatchbacks for the young-at-heart, luxurious and stylish executive sedans, spacious and affordable multi-purpose vehicles, as well as the world-renowned sports cars from Lotus. Most importantly, PROTON models are now developed with Lotus Engineering, offering customers superior ride and handling experience in every drive.
PROTON’s inception as a key driver of national development has seen the brand accelerate its learning curve through technology transfer with strategic partnerships and technical collaborations. By listening to the needs of customers, PROTON cars are now steadily on track to achieve the mission for the future, with PROTON set to become a marque which builds cars with passion and soul; cars that are a delight to drive – and a pleasure to own.